My daughter’s birthday is this week, but celebrations took place over the weekend with family and close friends. I’ve spent the past week busy with cupcakes for school, brunch for the family and the birthday cake.
Growing up, my mother made a delicious chocolate chip birthday cake every year for our birthdays. Problem is, unknown to her, the cake contained ingredients that I’d rather not include on our birthday table – Crisco, containing hydrogenated oils, is the first ingredient that comes to mind.
So, what do you do when your favorite foods contain not so favorable ingredients?
Make the lateral switch. Instead of soda, drink carbonated water. Instead of fried french fries try roasted sweet potato fries. And, in the case of the birthday cake, substitute Crisco for non-hydrogenated shortening (it does exist at your local health food store). I also substituted rice milk for cow’s milk, whole wheat pastry flour for white flour and sugar in the raw for white sugar.
Finally, remember to forego adding food dyes to your icing. Artificial colorings are suspected to be cancer-causing and linked to many adverse behaviors in children. They are actually banned in several European countries. Try decorating with dark chocolate chips, for example, instead.
Substituting ingredients is a great way to add a little healthy into your celebrations without having to sacrifice tradition or forego a birthday cake (that would NOT go over very well with my children!). Healthy living does not equal depriving yourself and family of life’s culinary pleasures.